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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

9 Ways to Stop Complicating Life and Start Living

9 Ways to Stop Complicating Life and Start Living

Yes, we’ve all been there—those times when life seems so incredibly complicated that we have no idea what we should be doing next. These are the moments where you need to pause, take a breath, and relax. Because the truth is, we often overcomplicate things. We prevent ourselves from clearly visualizing the problem because we panic.

In this article, I am going to walk you through some of the ways that you can stop complicating life and begin truly living.

Sounds pretty awesome right? Let’s get right into it!

1. You’re a Work in Progress

Look, you’re a work in progress, and you likely always will be. It’s time for you to accept that fact. The beauty is that you’re not alone. Everyone else on this planet is in the same boat. If our ships are sinking on this issue, we’re sinking together.

Remember, just because you’re a work in progress doesn’t mean that you’re not good enough. It simply highlights that you’re still trying to improve and that you have more to learn. If you aren’t a work in progress at this point, I feel truly sorry for you. You’re missing out.

Overall, my point here is to stop complicating things because you feel you’re not good enough. You certainly are good enough. So, stop hating on yourself for not being perfect.

2. Live Honestly

You have no idea how many people I see overcomplicate their lives because they choose to live immorally. Not only does this make them look bad but they feel bad about themselves as well.

When you lie, cheat, and steal to get ahead or benefit yourself in some other way, you complicate things for yourself. You’re always worrying about whether or not you’re going to get caught or whether or not it’s all going to catch up to you—as you should be!

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So, stop living this way. Live morally. Be kind to others and live an honest life. Stop complicating life by being a bad person. Just keep things simple by doing the things that you know are right at your heart and at your core.

3. Communicate Clearly

This is probably one of the most significant ways to remove some of your life’s complexity. Too many people cause problems for themselves simply because they don’t know how to communicate effectively.

They say things they don’t mean or mean things they don’t say, and this creates problems. Nobody is a mind reader, so if what we say isn’t clear, it’s likely going to be misinterpreted and that’s going to cause problems down the line!

If you practice good and clear communication regularly, you’ll notice just how much this impacts your life and the problems that it helps you avoid. Don’t underestimate this crucial skill and just how much it influences your daily life.

4. Stop Being Too Materialistic

Yikes, this is a big one. Far too many of us are driven by the script that society forces on us telling us that we need more of everything.

Quantity is never going to be all that it’s hyped up to be. Quality is always going to be better than quantity. So, instead of trying to hoard everything, seek out quality in the things that you seek to possess—whether that’s materials, friendships, or experiences doesn’t truly matter.

Stop trying to spend money that you don’t have to impress people that you don’t even care about impressing.

Wealth isn’t obtained through material possessions, so manage it wisely. Simply trying to reduce your craving for material possessions will go a long towards reducing the complexity of your lifestyle.

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5. Don’t Waste Time Changing People

If you want to make your life more complex than it’s ever been, start spending your time trying to change and control the people around you. I guarantee they will not appreciate your efforts and will eventually cause you to dislike your own life.

So, stop complicating life by beginning to just accept people for the way that they are. Save yourself the trouble of trying to change and control people who don’t want you to influence them in this way.

Just appreciate them for who they are and if you can’t do that, then maybe it’s time to consider whether or not you should be spending your time with someone else.

6. Reduce Exposure to Toxic People

You truly are the average of the people that you decide to surround yourself with. That’s why it’s important to continually be auditing your social circle.

If you have the choice, spend more time with people who are smart, mature, driven, and kind and less time with the people who are the opposite. This is because one group is going to pull you and your development forward, whereas the other group will hold you back.

That’s not to say you have to avoid these people entirely, you just have to reduce your exposure to them.

Life is quick and if you spend in with the wrong people, you risk ending up with some serious regrets. Additionally, if these people have toxic tendencies, chances are some of the problems in your life stem from them rather than from yourself.

Trust me, you don’t need their help in making your life more difficult or challenging.

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7. Stop Procrastinating Everything

Look, we both know that you do this. We all do it from time to time. But procrastination is one of the biggest stressors that we impose onto ourselves in our lives. And we do it willingly. Why? There’s no good reason for this added stress.

We know that we have to get something done, yet we continually leave it until the last minute. This unnecessarily complicates our lives. So, do whatever it is that you need to do to eliminate procrastination from your life as much as possible.

Make to-do lists, make a schedule, and set deadlines for yourself that are well ahead of when something needs to be completed by. Do whatever you need to do to get things done early.

This way will help you to stop complicating life and get on top of things. And when you’ve finally got everything together, you’ll feel more in control of your life and this will help you to live more fully.

8. Learn How to Say No

Look, you can’t do everything for everyone. If you try to say yes to everyone, you’re going to end up disappointing more people than you please, and you’ll complicate your life in the process.

It’s a lose-lose scenario. You don’t need that in your life.

Ironically, learning how to say no to some people sometimes is going to help you in multiple ways.

First, it’s going to allow you to focus on the people and opportunities that you truly want to spend time on. That will help you to be happier over an average day simply because you’re doing the things that you want to do.

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Second, it’s going to allow you to be more present with those people and opportunities. That will allow you to bring your full self to each situation so you can have the biggest positive impact possible.

So, do yourself a massive favor and stop making all those promises that you either can’t or don’t want to keep. Overcommitting yourself will result in you spreading yourself too thin and that will make you miserable.

9. Focus More on Things You Can Control

Look, life is crazy sometimes. I get it. We all have that craving to control things because it makes us feel better about all that chaos.

However, you could try your entire life and still come nowhere close to controlling all of it. That’s why it’s better to simply begin figuring out what things you can and can’t control. Once you’ve done that you can begin focusing on what you can control.

By focusing your energy on the things you can control, you spare yourself from wasted time and energy trying to control things you have no influence over. Not only will that reduce your stress but it will also be good for your mental health in the long-run.

This is a great way to stop complicating life and begin progressing in the right direction because your energy becomes fixated on the areas that matter.

Final Thoughts

This list is by no means exhaustive. There are countless other ways that you could also stop complicating life to live more fully. These are just some common suggestions that people find useful.

So, pick and choose which of these might make sense to your life. Figure out which ones are going to help you make progress towards reducing stress and complexity.

You work hard. You owe it to yourself to also live fully.

More Tips on How to Stop Complicating Life

Featured photo credit: Maksym Kaharlytskyi via unsplash.com

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Mark Lynch

Featured Life-Balance, & Personal Development Author

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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

I’m Stuck! 7 Steps to Take When You’re Feeling Stuck in Life

I’m Stuck! 7 Steps to Take When You’re Feeling Stuck in Life

Life can throw curve balls your way and challenge you even when the best of conditions have manifested in your life. Whether you are a middle-aged working parent, deep into your retirement, or somewhere in between, there are times when we all find ourselves saying “I’m stuck.”

I have a strong familiarity with this feeling of low energy levels, a lack of motivation to the point where getting out of bed can be a struggle that you are fighting each morning prior to work.

I often deal with my own struggles of feeling stuck when it comes to writer’s block. At times the words can flow out of me like lava gushing from an active volcano, but in other moments, my motivational levels and willingness to engage in thought feel absolutely dormant.

What are some of the tools or techniques that one could lean on in these moments where you just can’t seem to get out of the hole you feel stuck in?

One major emphasis that I’d like to make in discussing ways to beat that feeling of “I’m stuck” is that this feeling is extremely normal. We all will experience it at some point or another as we navigate this journey in pursuit of happiness.

Too many individuals experience this diminishment in encouragement and joy and allow it to alienate them from the people who care about them most. This brings me to the first step in beating that feeling of being stuck in life.

1. Embrace the Feeling of Being Stuck

You’ve got to recognize that this idea of “I’m stuck” is a natural feeling that we all experience whether in our work life, a relationship, or perhaps a scholarly pursuit or business endeavor.

You have to allow yourself to realize that life is hard and there will be days, weeks, or months when you don’t feel like you have enough fuel in the tank to push onwards and upwards.

Whatever obstacles you face that are giving you this inability to get excited about your weekly movements, you must first understand that these aren’t abnormal thoughts to have, and you aren’t alone in experiencing them.

If you can allow yourself that small but vital realization, then you will be well on your way to breaking out of the cycle of feeling stuck and unable to move forward in your life’s pursuit.

2. Identify the Source of Your Obstacles

Struggle is an obstacle that will never be fully gone no matter where you find yourself in life. We all have to face adversity at some point.

How you handle struggle, however, is going to be a key point in managing your emotions, temperament, and the overall outcome for your life as you try to regain your internal confidence and start breaking out of the mental chains that you’ve found yourself in.

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“We act like wind-up toys, repeatedly bumping into the same walls, never realizing there may be an open door just to our right or our left,” Susan David, a psychologist at the Harvard Medical School, writes in her book, Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life.

Essentially, what Susan is saying, is that we often get stuck in a situation but continue the same approaches that got us stuck in the first place, instead of searching for an alternate path forward.

When you start saying “I’m stuck,” it’s time to start a full evaluation of your situation to try and better understand what the source of that feeling is.

If you are feeling stuck or in a rut, try to trace back in time and determine what got you in this mental headspace in the first place[1].

Maybe your office has a new boss who is more critical than the last, so you are feeling a lack of confidence. Perhaps you’re considering going back to school but are stressed about the cost. It could really be any number of things.

Knowing the why and working to understand the internal foundation for this moment of apathy will empower you to make the changes necessary to get out of that funk and begin your climb towards a more productive self.

3. Re-Organize Your Time

It can become all too easy to fall into a trap of negative routines or unhealthy habits that can contribute to that lull in your life where you just don’t feel like doing much at all.

In working to identify the root cause of being stuck, you should start evaluating how you utilize your time.

I often hear “I don’t have the time to work on [fill in the blank]” as an excuse to continue down a path of unproductive behavior that will only entrench the individual further into a hole that they never wanted to be in to start with.

For this reason, it is important to analyze your time usage. Create a budget for your time in the same way that you should have a budget for your finances.

I don’t just want you to make your time budget for what you want to accomplish in a week. I also think it’s important to create a time budget that accurately reflects your current week-to-week behavior.

Seeing how you are utilizing your time in the present moment might be eye opening if you have been over binging on Netflix shows, overly consumed with social media, or working yourself to death.

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By creating a time budget, you are establishing a plan that can help guide you through the moments when you’ve actually had enough and don’t feel as if you can continue onwards anymore. With more established schedule for how you will utilize your time, you can train yourself up to be more naturally productive and block those “I’m stuck” thoughts from getting to you again.

Take a look at this article to learn how to budget your time better: The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

4. Talk to Yourself Frankly

Don’t you find it interesting that we can often readily provide solid advice to a friend, family member, or co-worker without much reservation or issue, but when it comes to our own decisions, we often feel paralyzed and unable to make a decisive move?

I like to employ a strategy that I call talking to the mirror. Essentially, I try to step outside of my own internal monologue or perspective and give myself the sort of advice that I’m usually able to readily produce for a close friend or family member.

Often times, when I step outside of the confines of my own mind and feeling of being stuck, I’m able to better gauge my perspective and whether or not it’s healthy or realistic.

By committing to such an exercise, you have the potential to increase the success of reflecting on your path through life. You also potentially learn more about yourself and why you may be feeling trapped where you are.

According to authors Kross & Ayduk in their study of Focusing on the Future from Afar[2]:

“Prior research indicates that self-distancing enhances adaptive self-reflection about negative past events.”

Very much in line with the idea of “talking to the mirror,” you need to understand that it is important to treat yourself with the love and compassion that you deserve as a human[3]. People will quickly work to ensure others around them feel loved and cared for but neglect themselves in the process.

Dr. Kristin Neff, a psychology professor at the University of Texas drew the conclusion that “self-compassion involves treating yourself just like you would treat your friends or family members.”

When you say I'm stuck, use healthy self-talk.

    Much like the simple idea of treating others the way you’d want to be treated, it is key to have self-compassion and build yourself up with positive self-talk rather than viewing yourself only through a negative lens[4].

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    5. Distract Yourself a Bit When Necessary

    I spend a lot of my time in the creative areas of my mind, working hard to create original music for myself at home or even working on writing for my blog. It is a healthy release for me that allows me to step outside of my normal day-to-day operation and escape.

    If you are feeling stuck in a particular area of your life, try to step away from that area for a moment and refocus your attention on another area that gives life and energy.

    When I’ve been working on one song for many weeks at a time, it helps to try and write a new song or revisit an older track to shake things up and keep them fresh.

    We all have daily routines that can grow stale at times and leave us feeling frustrated. Shaking things up and finding new ways to distract your mind is a perfect way to break out of that mental cycle!

    If you find yourself at an impasse, and you can’t break off that inability to garner up motivation to continue forward, then taking a little side quest might be just the thing to get you back on course.

    It’s similar to an academic trying to solve an equation that just seems impossible to figure out. Sometimes, you have to step away and zoom out.

    Taking time to distract your mind with something new can give you that motivation to then revisit what was once feeling tired and worn out, and renew your passion to pursue it! If you’re thinking, “I’m stuck,” try taking on a new hobby, playing a sport, or trying out a new family activity. Who knows what will change your perspective.

    6. Turn That Productivity Up!

    Next, try to find ways you can productively utilize your time when you feel stuck in another pursuit.

    When I’m feeling trapped at work and unable to continue with the 40+ hour work weeks, I try to come up with some productive ways to use my time outside of work that give me something to look forward to.

    Sometimes that is as simple as playing with my daughter for an hour and letting go of the stresses and anxieties of work, even if for just a brief moment.

    Other times, I find projects to work on at the house, such as hiding the wires behind the TV or building a new side table for our bedroom. It doesn’t take long for me to realize that when I work to find more effective ways to spend my time, I feel more fulfilled and better prepared to handle the ups and downs of life.

    Productively using your time in the evenings after work helps to stave off any feelings of apathy or laziness that might lead you down the path of that all too familiar stuck feeling.

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    Keeping busy with productive things in and out of the workplace in moderation can be a great way to occupy your mind. It can also help you to establish better habits in your free time that will be more conducive to feeling like you can achieve your goals and experience new found levels of success and motivation.

    7. Look Back and Look Forward

    The last word of encouragement that I’d like to leave you with is to remember that no change comes fast in life. I wish it were as easy as saying, “1, 2, 3!”, snapping your fingers, and all of a sudden you feel like your best self.

    But like anything worth striving towards, breaking out of a funk in your internal perspective takes time, energy, and a strong support group of friends or family.

    If you attempt to break out of your feeling of “I’m stuck” but seem to be failing after a short amount of time, don’t give up. Keep working at it and keep trying to adopt a more positive attitude about your situation.

    I typically give myself at least 30 to 60 days to try and implement a new strategy within my approach to life. Then, I pause to evaluate my progress or lack thereof.

    The key to success isn’t just in the doing. It is also in the analysis of your actions prior to a change, during the adoption phase of a change, and after the change has started to take root in your life.

    If you fail to reflect on where you were, then you will miss out on important insights into your own path through life.

    Journaling can be especially useful in this area as you’ll be able to look back and see exactly where you were a week, a month, or a year ago. If you want to give it a try, check out this article.

    Final Thoughts

    We all move at different paces through life, and in doing so, we will all face struggles and moments where we just want to throw in the towel. I can’t emphasize enough that these moments are absolutely normal, and you are not alone in feeling this way!

    I hope that these steps help you to consider your own behavior and make the necessary adjustments to live a more fulfilled life. Instead of feeling stuck, you will feel empowered to be the best you that you can be!

    More to Help You Get Unstuck

    Featured photo credit: Yoann Boyer via unsplash.com

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